Senate debates

Tuesday, 10 August 2021


Climate Change

1:29 pm

Photo of Marielle SmithMarielle Smith (SA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] The latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found that South Australia is already facing more extreme heat, drought and catastrophic bushfires and less average rainfall—we've already experienced less rainfall and an increase in droughts—and this will have a disastrous effect on our health, agriculture and biodiversity. The report predicts a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees by about 2030 based on our current trajectory. What will our children say to this knowing that we had this report? They'll look to us, to our policies, to the decisions made by those of us in this place and ask, 'What did you do?' The report is unequivocal: human activity is responsible for rising temperature levels, and the scale of recent changes to our climate is likely unprecedented.

There are still those opposite who continue to deny and to question the science, but we cannot afford this. We cannot afford further delays on action on climate change. The UN Secretary-General has declared the report a code red emergency for the world. He said the alarm bells are deafening and the evidence is irrefutable. The government cannot ignore this any longer. The report made clear that Australia is in particular peril. Sea levels around Australian and New Zealand have already risen higher than the global average and will likely continue rising. Fires are more frequent, and fire seasons are lasting longer. Heavy rainfall and floods are projected to worsen, and across South Australia drought has already increased, and projections suggest this will worsen. The only way to turn this around in terms of policy in Australia is to change the government. This is a warning of the greatest urgency. This is an emergency, and I urge more action from the government.